Coyotes GM: Smith trade made to set up other moves to improve team

Posted: 18/06/2017 in NHL, Sports
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John Chayka is far from done.

That was the clear message the Arizona Coyotes general manager sent out after sending goaltender Mike Smith to the Calgary Flames earlier Saturday.

“This move wasn’t made in isolation,” Chayka said, per Dave Vest of the team’s website. “It was made to set up other moves to improve our club … I think we’ve planted a lot of seeds that we can move forward with.”

At this point in his career and considering the team’s trajectory, it made sense to part ways, especially with Smith carrying a $5,666,667 cap hit for two more seasons.

“We’re trying to continue to build for the future and continue to make this as competitive of a team as possible,” Chayka added. “We think we’ve got a good, young group here who has a chance to be a good team next year. The reality is Mike Smith is a 35-year-old goaltender and when some of our players are reaching their prime years then he’s probably on the wrong side of his career.”

Chayka added trading Smith wasn’t an easy deal to pull off, and that Chad Johnson – part of the return in the swap – is one option as a potential replacement in net.

“Hopefully we can get a good goaltender in there that can help our group next year,” he said. “There’s a chance (Johnson) could be a starter in this league, but right now we’re just sorting through all the different options and he’d be one of them.”

On Friday, it was reported that Arizona is one of several teams with serious interest in New York Rangers center Derek Stepan, who has four years remaining on a contract that carries a cap hit of $6.5 million.


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